ABC Wraps Ryan in ‘Conservative’ Tags; No ‘Liberal’ Labels for Joe Biden in 2008

Breaking the news this morning that Mitt Romney has chosen Paul Ryan as his running mate, ABC’s Good Morning America in a single hour employed no fewer than seven “conservative” labels to label Ryan and his supporters. But four years ago as Barack Obama tapped Joe Biden, there wasn’t a single “liberal” label to be found on GMA’s coverage that Saturday morning.

Ryan, ABC’s team accurately pointed out, is as fill-in co-host David Muir put it, “a favorite among conservatives;” a candidate who “rallies the conservative base,” as George Stephanopoulos later opined. According to the American Conservative Union, Ryan has a solid 91.69 conservative rating (100% being a perfect conservative score).

But Biden in 2008 had a nearly mirror-opposite ACU score of 12.67%, yet ABC avoided using the “liberal” tag when he was chosen. Instead, he was touted as a voice of “experience” and foreign policy expertise. As then-co-host Bill Weir set up the August 23, 2008 show:

BILL WEIR: This morning, experience trumps change. Barack Obama taps a senate veteran to be his number two. Why Joe Biden as a running mate, And can his foreign policy clout help the Democrats win the White House?

This morning, ABC fixated on Ryan’s ideology, and his “controversial” plan to cut the budget. Unstated: how Ryan’s supposedly brutal budget includes continued growth in federal spending (the cuts are only in the projected rate of growth, not in the programs themselves), and how even his supposedly stern approach would not reach a balanced budget for years.

Here are the relevant excerpts of the August 11 Good Morning America, with the “conservative” labels in all-caps to make them easier to see:

DAVID MUIR: They’re going bold, no question about it. Mitt Romney, choosing Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, of course, to be his running mate. We understand that Romney has called some of the other contenders on that short list to notify them that they have not been picked. Paul Ryan, of course, a favorite among CONSERVATIVES....

JON KARL (on the telephone):  He’s also somebody who has become a hero to CONSERVATIVES because more than any other Republican in congress, he has driven the Republican agenda to focus on the issue of getting the government’s budget back in order. Dealing with the fiscal crisis. And you mentioned it, Bianna, that proposal on Medicare is the centerpiece of his plan. And, boy, is it controversial....


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (via Skype): Although, there had been so much pressure building up, David, in these last several days for Mitt Romney to pick, as Jon mentioned, among CONSERVATIVES. You saw the Wall Street Journal editorial page, you saw the Weekly Standard, Bill Kristol, a major CONSERVATIVE figure, all pushing hard for Paul Ryan. But I am told that this was, in many ways, always Mitt Romney’s preference....

STEPHANOPOULOS: There are great political risks here, with Paul Ryan, even though he rallies the CONSERVATIVE base....We all know that Democrats are going to fire hard at this Ryan plan, which as you guys pointed out, they can argue will cause for significant cuts in Medicare, other social programs....

DAVID MUIR (in a taped profile): He is a rising star in the Republican party, a policy wonk, who immerses himself in budgets....And a fighter for the CONSERVATIVE cause....

JON KARL (live at the U.S.S. Wisconsin): Ryan is just 42. He is very controversial. But he is a hero to CONSERVATIVES. And as you know, he is the one with that big budget to get the fiscal house back in order.
 

Rich Noyes
Rich Noyes
Rich Noyes is the Senior Editor for Newsbusters